Neometals to benefit from emerging vanadium research
Neometals Ltd. (ASX: NMT) (“Neometals”) reported it has completed the refurbishment of the laboratory and mini-plant test facility in Montreal in support of its Barrambie Project in Australia. The laboratory facilities are at operational status, the mini-plant has been refurbished and resumed operation on 12 December 2016 while the upgrade of the pilot facility is nearly complete.
The mini-plant operation results were successful and some changes to the metallurgical process were successfully evaluated. Neometals reported that those changes could deliver significant improvements to process economics and final product specification with material benefit to the Barrambie Project if implemented.
The Barrambie project, located some 116 kilometers south east of Meekatharra and 75 kilometers north west of Sandstone in Western Australia, is one of the world’s highest grade titanium deposits, containing total Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resources of 47.2Mt at 22.2% TiO2, 0.63% V2O5 and 46.7% Fe2O3, at a cut‐off grade of 15% TiO2.
The Barrambie project should benefit from emerging vanadium research.
While, eighty five percent of vanadium produced is used in steel manufacturing because of the strengthening properties of vanadium, miners are looking for new uses for vanadium. For example some high end Japanese knifes are made out of vanadium steel.
Vanadium redox batteries are a recent development with unique advantages; they can offer almost unlimited energy capacity simply by using larger electrolyte storage tanks; they can be left completely discharged for long periods without permanent damage; If the electrolytes are accidentally mixed, the batteries suffer no permanent damage; A single state of charge between the two electrolytes avoids the capacity degradation due to a single cell in non-flow batteries; The electrolyte is aqueous and inherently safe and non-flammable (Sourced from Wikipedia).
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But the main disadvantage of vanadium redox battery technology is their lower energy storage density, which limits it to stationary applications.
New research on the properties of vanadium shows potential for new applications. When vanadium metal conducts electricity it produces almost no heat in the process, an anomaly among metals.
As a rule all metals conduct electricity and heat—this meets the basic definition of metals. According to classic physics principles their electrons are responsible for both the movement of electrical current and the transfer of heat. But metallic vanadium dioxide (VO2) seems to be different. When researchers passed an electrical current through nanoscale rods of single-crystal VO2, and thermal conductivity was measured, the heat produced by electron movement was actually ten times less than that predicted from conventional physics rules (Source: New Atlas).
This discovery is almost quarantined to stimulate researchers to find new applications for vanadium, including for example superconductor applications.
There are 36,844 patents dealing with vanadium registered with WIPO. One new filing takes advantage of the newly discovered properties of vanadium. Patent 20170031231 is making use of a layer of vanadium oxide as a component of high-resolution displays for portable computers and smartphones. This technology reduces power consumption and increases display-switching speed and is easy to manufacture. This is promising to vanadium miners because of the potential upswing for increased demand in high purity vanadium.
Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>